Day 6 – Living and Dying by Lists

It doesn't take long for critters around here to figure out the formula human + bucket = food

It doesn’t take long for critters around here to figure out the formula:
human + bucket = food

I don’t know where I would be without my lists. The TO-DO lists on the farm are endless – chores to do, things to fix, build, plant, harvest, clean, paint, scrape, haul, lug, prune, empty, fill…  I also have lists relating to current writing projects, and always have a list going of what things I need to pick up when I’m next in town.

Wednesdays are a painful list day as that’s the day each week I go to the feed store to stock up. Well, going to the feed store isn’t painful per se – I actually love checking in with everyone there, it’s quite the social event to see how everyone is doing — it’s the paying part that hurts. Right at the moment the turkeys are eating up a storm, the piglets (two litters on the verge of being weaned) have fully understood what their mothers get so excited about when I show up with the feed buckets, and this year’s pullets are full size and just starting to lay. Not that the girls are laying many eggs given the time of year, but still, everyone seems to be needing huge amounts of food these days!

Today, the feed store list looks like this:

5 bags organic hog mash
4 bags organic turkey mash
4 bags organic layer mash
4 bags timothy-alfalfa cubes
1 bag sheep feed
1 bag horse pellets
1 salt block (for the horses)
granulated salt (for the goats and sheep)
crushed oyster shell (for the layers)
shavings (for bedding in the various poultry houses)
garden stakes (not for the garden, but for the last bit of framing for the new chicken run)
Lunch Cart

At an average of 25.00 for a bag of organic feed, you can see why my hand shakes a bit each week when I pull the feed-needed list out of my pocket and start to give my order! I know these numbers would make a larger scale farmer laugh, but at the end of the year, if I lose a single litter of piglets to predation, a careless mother squishing them, or if a sow fails to get pregnant in the first place, poof – there goes whatever little profit I might have hoped to make with my modest hog operation! Meanwhile, the sows and the boar keep eating… and eating, and eating!

While I’m out I’ll also swing by a couple of local farm markets to pick up veggie scraps and two big sacks of feed carrots. Soon I’ll also be able to get feed apples, right about the time my friends have stopped dropping off boxes and bags of too-small, too-bruised windfalls they can’t use. Getting gas is also on the list (more pain – the truck is big!) as is picking up the newly repaired lawn tractor tire. There’s a list associated with that, too – all the little jobs I need to do once the tractor is back in operation.

Then, I’ll grab 15 bales of hay from the barn a couple of miles away from my place where I still have a couple of hundred bales stored for use through the winter. With the truck groaning and the dogs looking very uncomfortable perched together on the front seat of the truck (the feed bags completely fill the back seat of the cab but the dogs have been scolded so often for riding up front they look awfully guilty on feed days when they have to ride up front), I’ll make my way back to the farm to unload everything. (On the plus side, hauling all those hay bales and sacks of feed completely eliminates the need for a gym membership!) For a day or two I”ll feel wealthy, indeed – the cupboards full to bursting. Too soon, the empty feed bags will start to accumulate and I’ll start another list with:

Take empty feed bags to recycling depot.

How many of you are also list makers? What’s at the top of your To-Do list today?

8 responses to “Day 6 – Living and Dying by Lists

  1. You’re my hero Nikki! the top of my to do list today is empty the compost bucket at work- an important job! I sleep with a pen and paper by my pillow so I can write lists in my sleep. No joke. Without my lists I’d have to rely on my memory, and that wouldn’t be so good.

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  2. When I do make a list, I forget the list – so I rely on memory alone. Though I am not running a farm so it is easier!

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    • Relying on my memory alone would be a dangerous practice, indeed! I shudder to think how long it would take me to get everything done if I had to keep back-tracking to pick up the whatever that was that I was supposed to have got the first time around… Though, maybe if I relied on my memory a bit more it would get a better workout and not be so unreliable!

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      • Methinks it works both ways – my memory is much better than my note taking – or so it has worked historically. Memory is like a muscle, use it and it stays strong. Best of luck with the lists! 🙂

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  3. Yep, I’m a list maker too, for everything–animal groceries, people groceries, weekly to do list, daily to do lists, gardening, preserving, fix it projects, photography projects, etc., etc. But there’s never enough time to get it all done! Wednesdays are my feed store days too, every other week, and I totally enjoy chatting with the guys who work there. Then I come home and download 700 lbs plus/minus of grain. You’re right, who needs a gym when you work like that?

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  4. I love a good list! I also like to schedule my days. Not like down to the hour, but that I’ll accomplish certain tasks in the morning and others in the afternoon. This works until my plans go off the rails. Then all bets are off.

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